Why Do Americans Love the AR-15?


              Whenever there’s a mass shooting where the shooter uses an AR-15, the call goes up for a ban on assault rifles, an idea which was tried back in 1994, but only lasted for ten years and wasn’t really a ban. Not only did the 1994 statute allow current assault rifle owners to keep possession of their weapons, but gun makers could make a few cosmetic changes in the look and the feel of the AR and other assault-style guns which didn’t really change the essential lethality of the product at all.

              The odds that Congress will vote another assault rifle ban are slim, if only because this is the kind of issue where members of the GOP House caucus who might be willing to consider such a law are now beginning to worry about primary challenges next year from the alt-right, and anything which smacks of gun control is a toxic enough issue to determine the outcome of a close vote.

              On the other hand, the shooting this week not only took place in a Southern, pro-gun state, but also took the lives of three children and three adults in a private, church-based school. Which makes it a little more difficult to promote gun ownership as some kind of God-given ‘right.’

              Aside from the fact that the design of the AR-15 makes it a more efficient gun to use when a shooter wants to kill as many people as possible in a public space, what we will also no doubt begin to learn is how owning an AR-15 answers some kind of basic psychological need for white men to prove they are still a privileged group even when the objective basis for privilege, like good-paying manufacturing jobs have all been shipped overseas. 

              This is an argument made by a Professor of Psychiatry, Jonathan Metzl, whose book, Dying of Whiteness, is a clever approach to understanding how Donald Trump was able to capture white, working-class support. He references studies which see the ownership of guns, particularly assault rifles, as affirming masculinity at a time when ‘broad-shouldered, white men dominated the culture’ as well as holding those well-paying factory jobs which have disappeared. [p. 74.]

              The idea that the assault rifle is a symbol for masculine pride and authority may sound kind of obvious, but it happens to be an argument which has little, if anything, to do with why assault rifles are popular to the point that they wind up in the hands of people like Audrey Hale. In fact, the gun really started selling when the gun industry began referring to the AR-15 as a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ precisely to obscure its history and development as a military gun.

The idea that a weapon which could fire 90 military-grade rounds in less than 3 minutes would be sold as ‘sporting’ equipment was a brainchild cooked up by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) which had been getting reports from big-box chain stores like Cabela’s that women were reluctant to bring their children into retail locations which sold military guns.

The picture at the top of this page is from the website of Daniel Defense, the company that made the assault rifle used to kill 19 students and 2 teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX last May.

I owned and operated retail gun shops in three states (SC, NY, MA) between 1981 and 2014. Did I sell hundreds of assault rifles over that span of years? I did.

I can’t recall a single customer who bought one of those guns from me and said that he was either affirming his manhood, or trying to protect himself, or any of the other reasons which are given out to explain the popularity of this gun.

Customers bought assault rifles in my shop for the same reason they bought any other kind of gun: they had some extra cash in their pocket and they wanted to buy another gun.

The entire gun industry rests on the simple truth that every consumer item either develops a following or the item stops being displayed on store shelves.

Which means that the only way to get rid of the violence caused by the use of an AR-15 is to take the gun off the shelves.

Another Gun Book Which Gets It All Wrong.


              Now that Joe Biden has put the force of his office behind enacting another assault-rifle ban, the good guys who shill for the gun industry have to respond. Which, among other things, has resulted in the publication of a book, America’s Rifle – The Case for the AR-15, written by Stephen Halbrook who has filed endless pro-gun legal briefs and made many pro-gun appearances in courts over the years.

              Halbrook seems to believe that we shouldn’t devote any special, regulatory controls over the AR-15 because it has become America’s most popular gun, currently owned by more than millions of law-abiding Americans who shoot the gun for sport and fun. There are also more than 30 million among us who enjoy tobacco, so Holbrook probably thinks there’s no reason to restrict the sale of cigarettes.

              The book is a compilation of many courts cases relevant to whether or not we should ban the AR-15 which, on balance, appear to justify Halbrook’s argument that the term ‘assault rifle’ is simply an effort by the anti-gun crowd to chip away at 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ as well as to deprive freedom-loving Americans of what has become the country’s most popular ‘tool’ that is used to defend themselves.

              All well and good, except that Halbrook omits any discussion about important litigation which completely undermines his pro-gun case, as well as the fact that in discussing the history, design and use of assault rifles, Halbrook demonstrates the fact that he doesn’t know anything about guns.

              How do you write an entire book about litigation related to the AR-15 and not mention the 2013 law passed in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park which didn’t just prohibit town residents from purchasing the gun, but said that any current AR-15 owner could only keep his gun by moving out of town. This law, by the way, was upheld all the way to the Supreme Court based on one, very simple legal expedient, namely, that the Highland Park cops believed the gun was too dangerous to be used by anyone in that community for any reason at all.

              The idea that the AR-15 was too dangerous for civilian ownership was also behind another legal case which Halbrook completely omits from his book, which was the suit against the gun maker brought by the parents of children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School,  which resulted in Remington Arms agreeing to lay out $73 million in compensation for the murder and mayhem committed with the use of one of their guns.

              If Holbrook had spent a chapter discussing these cases from a pro-gun point of view, he might have actually produced a book which would have been an important contribution to the current AR-15 ban debate. However, by failing to mention this litigation, the author has simply produced yet another biased and erroneous piece of work which informs the public about nothing at all.

              But the absence of any mention of Highland Park and Sandy Hook aren’t the biggest gaps in this book. What really demonstrates the limits of Halbrook’s alleged expertise is how he describes the design of the AR-15 and in the process, gets the whole thing completely wrong.

              The distinctiveness of the AR-15 does not lie, as Holbrook seems to believe, in the gun’s hand grip, but rather in a design feature which is never mentioned at all. And this feature happens to be the fact that the gun’s magazine is inserted from below rather than above the frame.

              Not only does this design allow for a magazine which can hold up to or more than fifty rounds, but an empty magazine can be switched out for another full magazine in two seconds or less. The Sandy Hook massacre was accomplished with an AR-15 and several additional, 20-shot mags and it took the shooter less than three minutes to kill 4 adults and 20 kids. Any rifle which can deliver military-grade firepower that quickly has no business being described as a ‘sporting’ gun.

              I bought my first assault rifle, a Colt Sporter, in 1977 or 1978. Over the years I have owned maybe another half-dozen assault-rifle guns and probably sold a hundred or so in my various gun shops.

              It never occurred to me that I was owning or selling a gun that would be carried into a school or a supermarket and used to mow down a bunch of adults and kids.

              But if I wanted to kill a bunch of people at the same time, I wouldn’t think twice about using an AR-15.

              Which is why the gun is too dangerous to be sold and why Stephen Halbrook’s attempt to lionize this weapon as ‘America’s rifle’ is, to quote Grandpa, nothing more than ‘hai cock,’ (read: nonsense or bullshit – take your pick.)


When Is an Assault Pistol Not an Assault Pistol?


              Now that 2023 seems to have a come in with a whole bunch of mass shootings (58 killed or wounded in 4 events in LA, CA, Fl, AL), we get the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ on the one hand, and the usual search for explanations on the other. But this time around, thanks to a comment made by the Sheriff at the Monterey Park shooting, a third discussion has also broken out.

              When Sheriff Robert Luna was asked to describe the weapon that was used to kill 11 and wound 9 at the Star Dance Studio, he called the gun an ‘assault pistol, not an assault rifle,’ which set off all kinds of  tongue-wagging on the internet, because there’s no such thing as an ‘assault pistol’ and, for that matter, the term ‘assault rifle’ is also a phrase which means nothing at all.

              So, what I’m going to try and do in today’s column is explain what these terms mean and don’t mean, if only to attempt to bring a little bit of clarity to the current gun debate. I’m not assuming I’ll be successful in trying to make sense out of what has been and continues to be nonsense, but I’ll give it a try.

              Until the last year of World War II, every combatant on both sides of the conflict carried and used a semi-automatic gun. Whether it was a rifle or a pistol, the bottom line is that every time a soldier wanted to shoot his weapon, he had to pull the trigger.

              Now in fact guns which fired multiple rounds with one pull of the trigger had been around since the middle years of the nineteenth century, but the early guns, like the Gatling gun, were bulky, heavy and therefore not suited to be carried or used by individual troops. The Thompson sub-machine gun, popularized by Al Capone’s gang, was also produced both for military and civilian use but was never issued to troops in the field.

              Now we come up to 1944 and the German weapons engineers come up with a small, lightweight and fully automatic gun which really works which they call the Sturmgewehr 44, which means ‘assault rifle’ (sturm = assault or attack, gewehr = rifle) and the assault rifle is born.

              The Russians then developed their version of the assault rifle, the AK47, in 1947, and the United States gets into the full-auto act with the AR-10 in 1955. For any gun-nut reading this page, you can get a quick and clear history of the AR right here, but the end result of the efforts made by Gene Stoner to design a small, lightweight and full-auto rifle was the gun produced by Colt and first released to the troops in 1964.

              At the same time that Colt began delivering their gun to the military, which was called the M-16, the company also began to sell a semi-automatic version of the gun to the civilian market, which was first advertised by Colt as a ‘sporter,’ but other than the semi-auto versus the full-auto firing mode, the sporter was exactly the same gun as the M-16: same size, same weight, same everything except it wasn’t a full-auto gun.

              What makes the assault rifle so deadly and is the favorite weapon used by most shooters who want to kill lots of people as quickly as they can, is the way in which the gun loads the ammunition it fires, which is a magazine stuck into the bottom of the gun. A top-loading gun, like the venerable M-1, can only take 8 or 9 rounds before it needs to be reloaded because a larger magazine would stick out above the gun’s frame and make It impossible to aim the gun.

              On the other hand, if the gun’s ammunition is held in a magazine which sticks out below the gun’s frame, you can use magazines which are able to hold thirty, forty, fifty or even one hundred rounds.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that because the civilian version of today’s assault rifle only fires in semi-automatic mode, that this is a handicap for the shooter in terms of how quickly the gun can be fired.  The kid who killed 20 children and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shot off more than 90 rounds in three minutes or less.

The reason that Sheriff Luna referred to the weapon used to kill and injure 20 people in Monterey Park as an ‘assault pistol’ was because the gun used in that slaughter had a barrel which was less than 16 inches in length. And the federal government defines rifles and pistols by one characteristic and one characteristic only, namely, whether the barrel is 16 inches or longer, which makes the gun a rifle, or what is referred to as a ‘long gun,’ versus the barrel being less than 16 inches, which makes it a pistol or a handgun.

For all of the gun-nut purists out there, who have spent the last thirty-odd years telling us that no semi-automatic weapon can be considered an assault gun, let me break the news to you gently. The current battle rifle issued to our troops can be set either to fire a 3-shot burst or to fire in semi-automatic mode.

This design feature has been incorporated into the military gun because it has been determined that a lightweight, semi-automatic gun is more lethal than a full-auto gun when the trooper finds himself in a public space where mobility and point-of-aim will determine how many human targets will be shot and killed.

If that’s not the definition of an ‘assault,’ regardless of the gun’s barrel length, then obviously I don’t know how to use a vocabulary which I learned in the 3rd or 4th grade.

When It Comes to Gun Violence, Will the Two Sides Ever Agree?

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              Right now, there’s a debate going on in the Washington State legislature about a proposed law which would not only prohibit the sale of assault rifles but would also prohibit the transfer of currently owned assault guns from one person to another, basically sooner or later making Washington State completely free of such guns. You can read the bill’s text right here.

              You don’t need to wade through 16 typed pages – just take my word for the fact that this law, if voted up, will certainly be signed by Governor Jay Inslee and that will be the end of that.

              It goes without saying, of course, that the usual gaggle of gun ‘rights’ groups have joined with the usual gaggle of alt-right political groups to oppose this law, trotting out their usual bromides about how the statute would ‘unfairly target (no pun intended of course) lawful gun owners’ and do nothing to reduce gun violence in the state.

              The head of a group called Conservative Ladies of Washington, claims that the bill is ‘politically motivated’ and would ‘infringe on 2nd-Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.’ At the same time, almost 90% of all ‘gun violence is caused by people who are possessing firearms illegally,’ says this conservative lady (her name is Julie Barrett) which means that the new law wouldn’t reduce gun violence at all.

              What caught my eye about Ms. Barrett’s comment is how on the one hand, she feels compelled to pull the usual 2nd-Amendment rabbit out of the usual Constitutional hat, while on the other hand, adopting language which is never (read: never) used by the gun ‘rights’ gang at all.

              I’m referring to the lady’s use of the term ‘gun violence,’ a term found in just about every narrative produced by Gun-control Nation but considered to be a linguistic phrase rated at the highest level of toxicity by all those freedom-loving Americans who know for a fact that armed, self-defense is America’s oldest and most cherished civil right.

              That’s because in the gun-nut world, to link the word ‘gun’ to the word ‘violence’ is to violate the maxim found on the NRA’s favorite bumper sticker about how guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

              On the other hand, what she’s saying about how most acts of gun violence are committed by individuals who use illegal guns also happens to be true, yet it’s a truism which rarely finds itself mentioned in the narratives of all those tree-hugging liberal groups lining up to support this new bill.

              So, it occurs to me that maybe without realizing it, Julie Barrett has come up with a strategy which will finally begin to bridge the rhetorical gap between the two sides in the gun debate and possibly create the basis on which a rational and (God forbid) effective discussion about guns and gun violence might occur.

              Going forward, let’s agree that Gun-nut Nation will begin to inject the phrase ‘gun violence’ into their narratives about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ and Gun-control Nation will begin to substitute the word ‘crime’ for the word ‘safety’ in their hallowed phrasing about guns.

              Let me break something gently to my gun-control friends. Lecturing a gun owner about behaving in a safe way with his guns is to insult that gun owner to a degree that will render any discussion between the two sides totally and completely moot. Think that gun owners don’t know how dangerous their guns happen to be? Why do you think they bought the damn things in the first place, okay?

              As for the idea that guns, not people, cause gun violence, is to create and promote a fantasy about the use of guns which cannot be sustained in the brains of anyone more than six years old.

              The bottom line is that both sides in the gun debate need to stop using language whose only rationale is to create instant messaging used to raise funds whenever there’s a mass shooting or a new gun-control law, or both.

              Which is what the gun debate has always been about – keeping your organization’s bank account full to bursting while the annual toll from shootings goes on and on.

If Congress Wants to Investigate the Gun Business, They Need to Get the Facts Straight.


            It doesn’t really bother me when gun nuts or gun-control advocates mis-state laws that we use to regulate guns. After all, these people either like guns or don’t like guns, no matter what the laws say.

            But when members of the United States Congress make public statements about gun laws or any laws, statements which happen to be wrong, or don’t mean what these public figures believe they mean, then we have a problem which needs to be fixed.

            I’m not talking about idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert or Matt Gaetz. They’ll say anything no matter how stupid they sound. I’m talking about a letter that eighteen Democratic members of Congress just sent to the guy who runs an outfit called Credova Financial, a company which partners with gun dealers and provides buy now, pay later (BNPL) plans for the purchase of guns.

            To quote the letter, “BNPL is a point-of-sale loan product allowing consumers to purchase and immediately take possession of an item after agreeing to pay the purchase price over a fixed period of time.” Such financing plans evidently find favor with younger buyers who either don’t yet have a credit history or are trying to avoid any credit card debt.

            Many BNPL companies explicitly prohibit their programs being used for the purchase of guns, but Credova has gone in the opposite direction and has basically built its entire funding operation by partnering with gun dealers who sell guns either in retail shops or online.

            One of the companies which partners with Credova is Daniel Defense, which manufactures assault rifles, including the gun that was used in the Uvalde massacre, as well as the gun that was used in the July 4th mass assault in Highland Park, IL.

            The letter from the Congressional group to Credova asked the company to answer 15 questions about its business practices, of which the first 6 questions asked what procedures did the company followed to keep guns from being bought or being used by customers who then either might traffic the gun to someone else, or might use the gun to commit an assault or another kind of crime.

            Nowhere in this letter is it mentioned that every, single gun whose purchase is funded by Credova is only transferred to the consumer by a federally licensed gun dealer who is required under law not only to conduct a background check administered by the FBI but is also – ready? – responsible for halting the transfer if the dealer believes that the individual buying the gun may use it in a criminal or harmful way. 

            Here’s the relevant statement from the instructions that go with the form which is used to transact the background check: “WARNING: Any seller who transfers a firearm to any person they know or have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm violates the law, even if the seller has complied with the background check.” requirements of the Brady law.”

            Has the ATF ever published guidelines to help gun dealers figure out whether someone who walks into the gun shop should or should not be legally entitled to ‘possess’ a gun? As the Spanish would say, ‘ni palabra ni pÍo,’ which translated figuratively means not one bit.

            But the point is that asking Credova to monitor the behavior of someone who uses their BNPL plan is like asking Visa to check how long it takes me to wolf down a bag of their potato chips.

            Incidentally, talking about Visa, the letter to Cordova also states data from a market research company, IBIS, which says that online gun sales will reach $2.6 billion by 2026, a number which is about as believable as the number of Martians now living at Area 51. But I’ll deal with that issue in a separate column later this week.

            Let me make one thing very clear. I’m not a fan of assault rifles and I certainly have no reason to promote either Credova’s financing of gun sales or the business activities of Daniel Defense.

            But if my friends in Gun-control Nation want to support meaningful initiatives to reduce gun violence, they need to get their facts and their arguments straight.

            They certainly didn’t do it this time around.

What Does the New Assault Rifle Law Really Say?


            So, once again the country will be treated to yet another Congressional debate about guns, with one side saying we already have too many goddamn gun laws, and the other side saying that we can reduce gun violence by passing yet another law.

            The law being debated would ban certain types of new guns from coming into the market because these types of guns, known as assault rifles, are being used in shootings where twenty people or more get killed in the same place and at the same time. And when these people happen to be a bunch of little kids and the place where they are killed happens to be their elementary school, as Grandpa would say, that’s ‘nisht gut’ (read: no good.)

            Now, it turns out that if we were to take the total number of people killed with these assault rifles each year and deduct that number from the total number of people killed every year who get shot by guns, it wouldn’t reduce the overall fatal toll of gun violence by even one percent.

            But you got to start somewhere, right? And since we can’t seem to figure out how to stop forty thousand or so people from picking up a gun and using it to kill themselves or someone else every year, if we get rid of assault rifles, at least these really bad, mass shootings may disappear. Maybe they’ll disappear. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.

            You can read a text of the House or Senate bills, which basically say the same thing, but I’ll save you the trouble and summarize them as follows. Once this law goes into effect, nobody in the United States will be able to buy a new rifle or handgun which shoots in semi-auto mode and loads with a detachable magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

            There are a few more bits and pieces to the law, but what I said in the previous sentence is what this ban is all about. If you happen to own a gun like this now, you can keep owning it or you can sell it to someone else. Or maybe you can sell it to someone else. The devil is always in the details., and the Senate version of the bill has an interesting, little devil lurking within, namely, a paragraph which only allows the current owner of an assault rifle to dell the gun to someone else by taking the gun to a federally licensed dealer and having the dealer run a background check on the prospective new owner of the gun.

            The House bill also has an interesting little devil that so far has avoided any public mention, which is a provision that requires everyone who currently owns an assault rifle to store the gun in a way which would prevent anyone not legally allowed to access such a weapon to get their hands on it.

            The NRA has posted a review of the proposed ban which quotes the usual suspects from both sides of the gun debate who say that the law, once enacted, would have little impact on gun violence in the United States. But none of these experts have obviously bothered to read the text of these bills. Because if they did, they would have to see that by requiring universal background checks to transfer previously owned guns (the Senate version) or requiring safe storage of such guns (the House version) would move the gun-control needle strongly in the direction that gun-control activists would like the needle to move.

            And by the way, I don’t notice any of the pro-gun loudmouths in the House or the Senate taking notice of these provision as well. Jim Jordan, the GOP member from Ohio, one of the staunchest promoters of the idea that the 2020 election was ‘rigged,’ came out with a statement about the gun ban, calling it a ‘direct’ attack on the 2nd Amendment and would do nothing to reduce gun violence. Thank you, Congressman Jordan, for your insightful remarks.

            I would be very surprised if either version of this bill makes it to Joe’s desk because when it comes to anything having to do with guns, the moment someone mentions the word ‘ban,’ every member of Congress begins looking for cover, particularly those members who come from purple zones.

            On the other hand, if the bill does get to the Oval Office with either of those two provisions for background checks or safe storage in the bill, even though these procedures would only apply to assault guns, it would still mark a major step forward for our friends in gun-control – oops! – I mean gun ‘sense’ land.

            Maybe if we’re lucky, before voting, maybe nobody in either chamber will actually take the time to read the bill.  

Re. Assault Rifles – Let’s Cut the BS and Get to Work.

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              Here’s what’s going to happen. The Democrats will introduce a bill to ban assault rifles or at least make the purchase of an assault rifle a little more difficult than it is now.

              The Republicans will huff and puff about gun ‘rights,’ but what they really will do to kill the bill is to stall.

              Because one of the things that Gun-nut Nation knows is that the hue and cry about a mass shooting usually lasts about one week. And if you don’t believe me, just go to one of those websites which gives you daily hits for a term like ‘gun violence,’ or ‘shootings,’ or some other phrase that people would use after a massacre at an elementary school and see what you see.

              What you’ll see, because I did it after Sandy Hook and again after Las Vegas, is that there will be a spike in internet searches for about one week. And then the search rate for anything having to do with gun violence goes back down to somewhere around zilch.

              And all the men and women whose political careers are on the line come November know this a lot better than you or I know. So, a few more thoughts and prayers and then go into the usual drill.

              The picture I took above is in a small town in northern Massachusetts which used to have a bunch of red-brick factories that are now all empty and unused. The store with those signs in the windows sits directly across the street from not one, but two shops that sell guns.

              So, if the owner of this shop in the crummy, little town of Turner’s Falls can express himself very clearly and openly about what happened at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday, isn’t it time that we followed his lead and get involved?

              And I’m not talking about showing up at a candlelight vigil, or going on a remembrance march, or putting down some flowers in front of the school. That’s all fine and well.

              What we need this time is a strong, ongoing series of actions that will make it difficult for the GOP to slip into their usual big stall.

              Here’s what I’m going to do this coming week:

  • I’m going to go to a website where I can design my own lawn sign which will read ‘Ban Assault Rifles – Now.’ I’ll order 25 signs and when they are delivered, I’ll walk around the neighborhood and give them out.
  • I’m going to start promoting my website which says we should ban assault rifle and semi-automatic pistols, and in particular ask visitors to go to the page where I have been collecting signatures for ban-the-gun petitions. Right now, I have 15,521 signatures on the petition to ban assault rifles. When it hits 25,000, I’ll send the petition to a bunch of Congressional members in D.C.
  • I happen to have prepared a booklet called What Is an Assault Rifle? which I’m going to put up on Amazon and give away for free. It’s about time that my friends in the gun-control community begin to feel comfortable knowing what they need to know about the guns they want to ban.

Most important, I’m going to go on a little crusade to try and get my friends in Gun-control Nation to stop talking about gun ‘sense,’ or ‘responsible gun behavior,’ or any of the other euphemisms which they use to try and disguise the fact that they don’t like guns.

What’s so terrible about not liking a consumer product whose use is responsible for more than 350 deaths and injuries every day? Because believe it or not, every single one of those fatal and non-fatal injuries are preventable. Know how?

By getting rid of some guns.

Do We Understand Mass Shootings?


              Over the last couple of years, one of the big issues in Gun-control Nation has been what appears to be an increase in ‘mass’ shootings which are defined as at least four victims shot at the same time and the same place with some saying it has to be four dead victims and others saying that it has to be four people shot whether they live or die.

              You can get a good summary of all the different definitions of ‘mass’ shootings floating around in Tom Gabor’s lively book, Carnage – Preventing Mass Shootings in America. You can also see a daily summary of mass shootings in the Gun Violence Archive.

              With all due respect to the honest and intelligent work being done by these two research efforts on mass shootings, I happen to think they are barking up the wrong tree. And in the process, the gun-control community is being led in a direction they shouldn’t need to go.

              Let’s go back to the night of February 11, 2015, in Tulsa, OK, where two jerks burst into a barber shop one night, one of them spraying the place with an AK-47. Their target was a member of a rival gang who was waiting to get his hair cut.

              The shooter with the assault rifle dropped more than twenty caps but didn’t hit the intended target even once. Three men were wounded and a fourth who owned the barber shop took a round in his head and immediately dropped dead.

              The two assholes with their AK-47 were arrested shortly after the assault. The victim, who was considered a righteous and beloved member of the African-American community, was killed simply because his head was in the way.

              Several days after the shooting, I had a conversation with one of the detectives who covered this case, a street cop with more than ten years’ experience chasing down the jerks who commit such stupid, meaningless, and violent crimes.

              I asked him the following question: “How come the guy with the AK-47 sprayed rounds all over the place? Why didn’t he just point the gun at the intended target and pull the trigger once or twice?”

              His immediate response: “They always do it like that. They shoot every round in the gun. They just want to see how many rounds they can get off. They don’t care if they hit someone or not.”

              Next time you watch the local news report about a shooting you’ll notice that the cops always mark every empty shell they find in the street. They do this because it’s a good way to figure out what really happened, since in most street shootings the witnesses didn’t see ‘nuttin,’ even if they were standing next to the guy who got shot.

              Want to define mass shootings in a way that will help us understand why they happen and what we need to do to eliminate them from daily life? Why don’t we start by first analyzing the events themselves?

              What we will discover is exactly what the Tulsa cop told me, namely, that the number of shots fired often has little to do with who gets injured or killed. The guns that are used for most shootings these days resulting in someone other than the shooter getting hurt, happen to be guns which hold fifteen, or twenty, or even thirty rounds.

              When you get a chance, take a look at one of an endless number of websites which host video shooting games. My favorite is a website called Crazy Games, which gives you a choice of more than fifty shooting games. You can sit on your computer and shoot rapid-fire guns all day long.

              Or better yet, you can take some cash, maybe a thousand dollars or so, and buy an AR-15 rifle or Glock pistol by just walking down the street. Usually, the seller will also throw in a box of ammo for the gun. And by the way, a thousand for an AR-15 isn’t all that much when you consider that a pair of Air Jordans will set you back two hundred bucks.

              Isn’t it time we stopped screwing around by continuing to insist that mass shootings occur because guns get into the ‘wrong hands?’ As far as I’m concerned, any gun that can pop off thirty rounds of military-grade ammunition in fifteen seconds or less is a gun that can only be used by someone with the ‘wrong hands.’

Will The AR-15 Disappear From California?


Yesterday the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced a novel and significant approach to gun violence which, if it becomes law in California, I can only hope will spread.  The initiative, according to Newsom, was copied from the new Texas law which allows residents to sue someone who offers abortions which violate the state’s new abortion ban. In California, the state has passed a ban on assault rifles, and Newsom wants state residents to be able to sue anyone who ‘manufactures, distributes or sells’ an assault rifle in the Golden State.

When this initiative was announced, members of Gun-nut Nation in California immediately began whining about how such a law would deprive gun owners of their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’

There has never been a gun-control law announced anywhere in the United States which doesn’t violate the s0-called 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ Of course, the fact that the 2nd Amendment happens to be an amendment and not a ‘right’ is somehow always left unsaid. A reader sent me a message stating that I was just a typical example of the ‘insidious, Left-wing mentality’ that has been destroying American life since World War II.”

There are actually people sitting around who think that way. Luckily, I suspect that most of them live in those red states where nobody is vaccinated which means they won’t be around to vote in 2022 or restore Trump to his rightful place in the Oval Office in 2024. Oh well. Anyway, back to Newsom.

The history of the United States is usually written to show that the country developed from East to West. So, for example, with the exception of the West Coast, we added states from East to West. We also opened the frontier to farming and human settlement from East to West.

But when it comes to nuttiness, things usually go the other way. After all, the shift of the GOP to nutty, right-wing ideas started in California with Ronald Reagan when he first ran for President in 1978. And what food product has ruined billions of cups of coffee? Half and half, which the dairy industry started selling in the 1960’s but was also first produced in the Golden State.

Except I don’t think that Newsom’s idea of giving residents the legal authority to express how they feel about the guy next door sitting there in front of his TV with a can of beer on the coffee table and his AR-15 on his lap is nutty at all. In fact, to the contrary, and let me tell you why.

When the first assault-rifle law was proposed, and it was also in California, by the way, the gun industry attacked the law because the AR-15 was a semi-auto design and hence, a ‘sporting’ gun. Semi-automatic guns had been used for hunting and sport since the semi-automatic design was developed by John Browning in 1898, and the AR-15 was just a ‘modern’ adaptation of Browning’s original design and the ‘modern sporting rifle’ had no connection to assault rifles sat all.

This was a good argument, a clever argument, an argument to keep the AR-15 design from being thrown on the ash heap of gun designs by liberal gun-haters like Michal Bloomberg, et. al.

There was only one little problem. The argument that the AR-15 was no different from any other semi-automatic rifle was simply wrong.

What makes the AR-15 dangerous and a threat to community safety is not whether only one round comes out of the barrel every time the trigger is pulled. The issue is how many rounds can be fired out of the gun before it needs to be reloaded and how much time is required to reload the gun.

The kid who blasted his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 26 adults and children in less than 3 minutes because over that period of time he fired more than 90 rounds! He got off that many shots in such a brief period of time because the AR-15 is a bottom-loading gun, so he was able to attach magazines holding 30 rounds to the bottom of the frame and switch from empty to full mags in two seconds or less,

If anything, firing a semi-auto gun is easier and more accurate to control than a full-auto gun, which is why the assault rifle currently issued to our military troops, the M4A1, can be fired in semi-auto mode.

If you are convinced that the AR-15 represents a danger to life and limb, the only thin you can do right now is send an email to your Congressional rep or send some dough to one of the national, gun-control groups which is trying to ban the gun. In other words, you can only express your worried and fears on a second-hand basis.

But let’s not forget that for every gun owner out there, there are probably two adults who don’t own guns. And if a bunch of them were to send a message to the powers-that-be about some guy wandering down the street with his AR-15….

The Militia Threat Is Real – So Is My F-15.


              Sooner or later, I knew it was going to happen. The liberal media would wake up to the fact that the so-called militia ‘movement’ isn’t just a bunch of fat, old White guys eating some pizza, drinking some beer, and then romping around in the woods with their guns.

              Yesterday, the Massachusetts State Police chased a bunch of heavily-armed men into a wooded area on I-95 about 10 miles north of Boston. The highway was closed down, the SWAT teams showed up, the negotiations went back and forth, and the insurrectionists finally gave up. No shots were fired, nobody was hurt.

              The group turned out to be members of something called the Rise of the Moors, an outfit in Rhode Island which has, of course, the usual website and professes to be part of the Nation of Moorish-Americans who do not believe that they are citizens of the United States. Hence, they do no feel obligated to obey American laws, or pay American taxes, or submit to American sovereignty in any other way.

              Why were a bunch of these self-proclaimed separatists sitting on the shoulder of I-95 in Wakefield, MA filling up one of the vehicles in their caravan with gas? Because they were on their way to Maine for ‘training,’ whatever that means. Give me a break.

              What did the liberal media do as soon as this story made the news?  They called up the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, both organizations immediately characterizing the Rise of the Moors as an ‘extremist movement.’ I mean, what else is the ADL going to say? The last movement that the SPLC or the ADL investigated that wasn’t an ‘extremist movement’ was the Boy Scouts, and even then, they weren’t completely sure.

              If there’s one legacy which has come out of the Trump years and refuses to go away, it’s the idea that all you have to do is let some idiots walk around with assault rifles who say they are protecting us from the ‘tyranny’ of the Deep State, and you have proof that the militia movement is here to stay and getting worse every day. One of the really accomplished liberal journalists, Lucian Truscott (who should know better) just put up a piece on Salon in which he claims that the GOP has shifted so far to the Right that the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers are the party’s base.

              And what do these groups all share in common? They all call themselves ‘militias’ and they all love to strut around showing off their guns. Don’t forget – they have military commanders like General Roger Stone getting them in line for the next charge up San Juan – oops! – I mean Capitol Hill.

              I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened on January 6th. But I really think that our man Joe is correct when he says that if you want to take on the American government, you’d better have something more than an AR-15, like maybe an F-15, okay?

              The day after he made that comment some idiots on a Facebook gun group to which I belong began telling each other that they knew some guy who owned his own F-15. When I mentioned that a 30-foor, cigar-shaped aluminum cylinder with wings but without avionics or weapons is a replica and not a real warplane, I was denounced as just another anti-gun liberal who’s on the payroll of the Deep State. Which, since I conduct lethal-force certifications for federal law-enforcement agencies, happens to be true.

              I guess because I sold maybe 100 or more assault rifles in my gun shop between 2001 and 2015, I just can’t find myself getting all worked up about the ‘threat’ posed by either the home-grown protectors of the Constitution indicted after January 6th, or by the followers of Sharia law arrested in Wakefield yesterday.

              I’ve actually attended a couple of militia ‘training’ sessions out in the woods. The pizza was still warm, and the beer was cold.

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